MATHIEU SPRIET WM, ALEXIA McKNIGHT,.
Increased signal intensity in one of the collateral ligaments of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint of sound horses in images acquired using a low-field magnet with vertical orientation of the magnetic field was investigated as a possible manifestation of the magic angle effect. Three isolated equine digits were imaged using the following pulse sequences: (1) spin echo T1, (2) turbo spin echo proton density and T2, and (3) 3D gradient echo T1, in different positions by mildly changing the orientation of the long axis of the digit, in the dorsal plane, relative to the magnetic field. The signal intensity in a ligament was significantly increased when the ligament orientation relative to the magnetic field was 55±10∞. The signal intensity was markedly increased in pulse sequences with short echo time (TE) 5.0, 4.9, and 3.9 times increased, respectively, for 3D gradient echo T1, spin echo T1, and turbo spin echo proton density) and to a lesser extent with pulse sequences with a longer TE (1.8 times increased for turbo spin echo T2). These changes are characteristic of the magic angle effect. Because of the anatomic orientation of the collateral ligaments of the DIP joint, a slight deviation of the long axis of the digit in the dorsal plane, from the ideal horizontal position, will induce an increased signal intensity that can be confused with desmitis. Careful positioning of the foot in magnetic resonance imaging systems where B0 is perpendicular to the long axis of the digit is critical to prevent the occurrence of the magic angle effect.